People who know me well know that my favorite traditional holiday is New Year’s Eve, and my favorite part is singing Auld Lang Syne with people. The lyrics vary; here’s how I sing it:


Should Auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind
Should Auld acquaintance be forgot
For days of Auld Lang Syne

For Auld Lang Syne my dears
For Auld Lang Syne
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
For days of Auld Lang Syne

And there’s a hand my trusty friend
And give a hand of thine
We’ll take a right good-will draught
For days of Auld Lang Syne

For Auld Lang Syne my dears
For Auld Lang Syne
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
For days of Auld Lang Syne

I want you to know why that song means so much to me, because every New Year’s Eve, I think of you when I sing it.

New Years Eve, we drink a toast - “take a cup of kindness” - to days long ago. The good times in our memories, the good friends in our memories, those who are there, and those who are not. But it is more than that - the song is about more than that. It is about the days long ago that we don’t remember. If you and I had a great adventure, or a wonderful hour together, and I remember it fondly, I will be drinking to the memory. To our memory. And to you. But here’s the thing - what if I forgot? I’m almost fifty years old. So many memories. So much moving away, or having people move away from me... I can’t hold them all. I may have forgotten our best time together... and to my horror, I may have forgotten you. But on New Year’s Eve, I’m drinking to you, especially to you, my beautiful, perfect, auld acquaintance.

We shared a joke, or a smile, or a kiss, or a tense moment, or we studied for an exam together, or shared a pizza at one of Phil Goldberg’s parties, Debbie Neal’s, Pat & Carrie’s, Mike & Margaret’s, or got into a dangerous situation, or you gave me a ride on my trip from Mo I Rana to Narvik, or Stuart and I played on the giant spiderweb with you and Greg Tortaglia in first grade, or you gave me half your lunch because you knew that the boss didn’t provide lunch on the job and I didn’t, or we dated for two years, or we were sitting next to each other on an airplane and we realized we were both from Long Island and our accents came back as we started making jokes, or or or or or or or...

Today is December 30. Within the first minute of January 1, I’m going to be drinking a toast to you, and our time together, and I will be loving you. But before I do, my friends and acquaintances, my current ones and new ones, my remembered ones and especially my forgotten ones, I will be singing a song about how much I treasure that time we shared. And maybe you will be drinking to that time as well, and we will all be together.

I love New Years Eve.

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© Douglas J. Shaw,  2013